The sanctuary city debate in Texas is driven, in part, by the idea that undocumented migrants are responsible for crime, but a new study out this week found that the numbers tell a different story, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"I think this is report is going to make people reexamine their prior opinions," study author Alex Nowrasteh tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.
The study uses numbers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, which works with federal immigration agencies. Nowrasteh says that makes them accurate, because there is the sharing of information.
It shows that, in 2015, Americans in Texas were convicted of 409,063 crimes. Undocumented migrants in Texas were convicted of 13,753 crimes.
"As a percentage of their respective populations, there were 56-percent fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015," he says.
The report also broke it down on crimes. There were 951 murder convictions in Texas in 2015. Only 51 of those were illegal immigrants. The homicide conviction rate for Americans in Texas was 3.88 per 100,000. That's compared to a homicide conviction rate for migrants in Texas that sits at 2.9 per 100,000.
Undocumented migrants in Texas were more likely to be convicted of gambling, kidnapping, smuggling and vagrancy than Americans, but the report shows those crimes constitute 0.18 percent of all convictions in 2015.
Nowrasteh hopes the study will be used as Texas debates sanctuary city policies.
"Whatever policy is put in place, it should at least be based on the facts rather than mythology, slogans or political rhetoric."